How long it takes to get a credit card can vary by bank or credit card issuer and your credit file. You can usually apply for a credit card in minutes, and sometimes you’ll get an instant answer. For many users, with instant approval, you could get the card within days. Other times it can take up to a couple of weeks to get an answer in the mail. High-end or specialty cards can take longer. Here are considerations to view your individual situation:
How long does a credit card application take?
A credit card application usually only takes a few minutes to fill out. You’ll be asked for basic information, such as your legal name and address, as well as information on income and rent or mortgage payments, Social Security number, and date of birth. You can apply online or mail in a credit card application, but the latter will take longer.
How long does credit card approval take?
After submitting your credit card application, you may get a response within minutes, or the credit card issuer may need extra time to review your application manually. If there’s any missing or inaccurate information it can take longer.
Legally, credit card issuers must respond with a decision within 30 days, but you’ll usually get a reply much faster than this.
- For online applications, you could get a response within minutes, or the credit card issuer may need a couple of weeks to respond by mail.
- With a phone application, you can get a response in minutes, or, if additional processing is needed, you’ll have to wait for a response in the mail.
- With a mail-in application, you can expect to get a response within a few weeks.
How long do credit cards take to arrive?
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card, you could receive your new card within 10 to 14 days. But this depends on the type of card you’ve applied for, the issuing bank, and the mail delivery service.
You may have the option to ask for rush delivery for an additional fee, then you could get the card within a few days or even the next day. If you report a lost or stolen credit card, most credit card issuers can rush you a new card through next-day delivery.
How fast can you get a credit card?
The fastest way to get a credit card is usually to apply online and meet the card issuer’s criteria for approval within minutes. Then, you should get the card in the mail within one to two weeks. If you’re really in a rush, you can request the card to be sent through expedited shipping, usually for a fee. In most cases, you’ll need to call the credit card company for this.
Reasons your credit card application may be delayed
Even with a good credit score, your credit card application may be delayed for some credit cards. Here are the most common reasons so you can get the fastest way to get a credit card:
Credit report freeze
Fraud protection can delay your credit card approval time. Freezing credit reports to prevent identity theft can make sense for many people. But if you forget to thaw the credit report before applying for a new card, you won’t be able to take out a credit card in your name — even if you have excellent credit.
This one is easy to rectify: Thaw your credit report before applying for a new credit card. If you’ve already applied, it’s usually not too late, just thaw the credit report within a couple of days to increase your chances of a fast credit card approval time.
Incorrect information on a credit application
If you’ve accidentally given incorrect personal information, including incorrect legal name, address, phone number, date of birth, or Social Security number may all delay credit card approval time. Banks aren’t just checking your credit history and payment history. They also verify that the personal information provided matches the information on the credit report.
The most common delay of this type comes from a recent move. If you just moved or move frequently, your credit report might not reflect your current address. Usually, if there is incorrect information, the credit card issuer will contact you for additional information.
Applying for a high credit limit
A high credit limit usually requires a higher credit score and sometimes also requires additional verification. These high-credit-limit cards may have additional criteria about payment history or income for credit card approval.
You’ve recently applied for a bunch of credit cards
If you’ve recently applied for a bunch of credit cards, your credit report will show several recent credit pulls or credit inquiries. This can cause banks to decline or delay offering a new credit line. In addition to possible delays, it’s usually a bad idea to apply for too many credit cards within a few months as it can hurt your credit score. As a rule of thumb, waiting three to six months between credit card applications will protect your credit score and prevent credit card approval time delays.
Suspected identity fraud
If a credit card issuer suspects identity fraud because of incorrect information or unusual application patterns, it may contact you to verify that a new credit card application is legitimate. This can protect you from identity theft. If it was you, your verbal confirmation is usually enough to move the application forward and speed up credit card approval time. If it wasn’t you, the identity theft protections could save you big problems down the road.
How to check on your credit card application status
If you want to know what is happening with your credit card application status, you can call the credit card issuer or check on the website. On the issuing bank’s website, you may see a button or link saying something like “track application status” or “check application status.” You will then be asked to log in or provide additional information to check your application process.
Usually, the information available is limited to approved, denied, or in process. In any case, the bank will later mail you details about its decision.
What to do if your credit card application is denied
If your credit card application is denied, you still have options. First, you can ask the credit card issuer to reconsider. You should also understand why the credit card application was denied and aim to rectify that situation. Beyond that, here are some steps you can consider:
- Reduce debt: If you have too much debt, try to pay off as much as you can and reduce credit card utilization and then reapply.
- Choose the right card: You can also apply for a more suitable card if the card you applied for requires a higher credit score, income, or other criteria.
- Wait: If you’ve applied for too many credit cards recently, the best option may be to wait six months and apply again.
- Get an authorized user: If you’ve been denied because of payment history, age, or a low credit score, adding an authorized user with a high credit score can improve your chances of credit card approval in a reasonable time.
Final thoughts on how long it takes to get a credit card
Credit card approval time varies by bank, credit history, the information provided, and additional factors. Even with an excellent credit score there can be a delay in credit card approval times. For that reason, how long it takes to get a credit card in the mail also varies by bank, mail service, and more. The fastest way to get a credit card is usually an online application where you can get approved within minutes. But even the slowest options need to give you an answer within 30 days. If you plan ahead and apply early, you should have the card before you need it.
How long do credit card applications take?
Credit card applications don’t take long to fill out. You should be able to get through the application in less than a half hour and perhaps finish it in under 10 minutes.
How long does it take to get a credit card in the mail?
How long it takes to get a credit card in the mail varies by mail service and issuing bank. Getting a credit card in the mail typically takes one to two weeks. You can request express shipping, often at an additional expense, to get the credit card faster.
Can I get a credit card on the same day?
Some banks allow same-day approval and use. In these cases, they will usually give you a temporary card number or digital card until the physical card arrives in the mail.